Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

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Media Microscope: Unspeakable truths about the UN Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, United Nations    

The Australian media generally presents the United Nations as an organisation staffed by good people, doing good work for the less fortunate.

However, through long and bitter experience, supporters of Israel feel somewhat more ambivalent towards the UN, seeing it as pathologically obsessed with excoriating Israel as inhumane tormentors of Palestinian paragons of victimhood.

Essay: Could the 1948 war have been avoided?

Essay: Could the 1948 war have been avoided? Author: Matthias Küntzel Categories: Israel, Palestinians    

On 29 November 1947 over two-thirds of the United Nations membership voted in favour of General Assembly Resolution 181 proposing a partition of Palestine: 56% of the mandate territory was assigned to a Jewish state and 43% to an Arab state, with Jerusalem under international administration. The Jews in Palestine danced for joy in the streets all night. The following day, eight Jews were murdered in three Palestinian Arab attacks. The Arab war to prevent the implementation of the UN resolution had begun.

Print edition
Asia Watch: Spotfires
Santoso: Elusive jihadist

Asia Watch: Spotfires Author: Michael Shannon Categories: Asia, Islamic Extremism    

While the Islamic State territory in Syria and Iraq is receding, IS-linked entities still pose a deadly threat not only in Europe but also Southeast Asia, with hotbeds of activity in the southern Philippines and Indonesia's Central Sulawesi region.

Celebrating Terrorism, Palestinian Style
Palestinian cartoon celebrating the bus bombing

Celebrating Terrorism, Palestinian Style Author: Khaled Abu Toameh Categories: Israel, Palestinians, Terrorism    

Shortly after the Jerusalem bus terror explosion attack on April 18, a number of Palestinian factions rushed to issue statements applauding the "heroic operation" and urging Palestinians to pursue the path of armed struggle against Israel.

The Palestinian jubilation over the terror attack, the first of its kind since the suicide bombings during the Second Intifada more than a decade ago, is yet another reminder of the growing radicalisation among Palestinians. 

The Problem of Salafism

The Problem of Salafism Author: Jacob Olidort Categories: Islamic Extremism    

While the attacks in Brussels are a tragic reminder of the ambitions of ISIS, we have yet to understand the inner workings of its ideology. Just days prior to the tragedy, Belgian authorities raided the home of Algerian Mohamed Belkaid, who was linked to the Paris attacks. Among the items they found were a Kalashnikov, an ISIS flag and a book on Salafism.

Europe Europa: Jihad Jitters

Europe Europa: Jihad Jitters Author: Douglas Davis Categories: Europe, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Terrorism    

For while Europeans are quick to differentiate between terrorists who strike within their borders and "militants" who strike in Israel, Israelis understand the fundamental nature of terrorism: whether it occurs in Europe or in Israel, it is essentially designed to visit indiscriminate death and destruction on the degenerate infidel, liberal and democratic.

The Last Word: The Second Fifty Years

The Last Word: The Second Fifty Years Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Europe, Holocaust/ War Crimes, Interfaith Dialogue    

I felt a firm grip on my arm - the sudden, unexpected gesture at once a sign of solidarity and an appeal for support.

We, amongst Jews and Catholics from five continents, were standing on the grounds of the Treblinka Murder Camp, fighting back tears as we sang, together, psalms and hymns.

We had already spent two days together, as participants in the International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee's twenty-third Consultation, this time in Warsaw, Poland.

Biblio File: The “One State” Delusion

Biblio File: The “One State” Delusion Author: Einat Wilf Categories: Israel, Palestinians    

If Jews and Arabs are to exist peacefully and achieve justice in the framework of a single democratic state, as proposed by Perry Anderson, the acceptance by both peoples of the equality of the other, both as collectives and as individuals, is a necessary condition.

If Jews and Arabs are to draft a constitution that would be more than a useless piece of paper and which would secure their joint lives together, they must recognise each other as equal claimants to the land, and must recognise each other as people of equal value, regardless of their differences. 

Why Is the Islamist Death Cult So Appealing?

Why Is the Islamist Death Cult So Appealing? Author: Paul Berman Categories: Islamic Extremism, Terrorism    

Why do people who are not clinically crazy throw themselves into campaigns of murder and suicide? The sociological answer to this question assumes a pettiness in human nature, such that even the slightest of humiliations and misfortunes may be regarded as sufficiently devastating, under certain conditions, as to sweep aside the gravest of moral considerations. I prefer to invoke the history of ideas. 

Scribblings: Abbas' "Ethnic Cleansing Solution"

Scribblings: Abbas' "Ethnic Cleansing Solution" Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Israel, Palestinians, United Nations    

If we go back in history, Abbas used to plump for ethnic cleansing of Palestine - which was more or less official PLO policy under the Palestinian National Charter of 1968.

Abbas wrote a book in 1981 entitled Taking Advantage of Victory penned in the lead-up to the first Lebanon war, and seeking to justify the PLO's strategy at the time of striking northern Israeli communities with rockets from Lebanon. 

Kingdom Come: Saudi Arabia worries about its future Categories: Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Updates    

Last week, US President Obama visited Saudi Arabia - at a time when it is generally agreed that ties between Riyadh and Washington have been at a low ebb. A few days later, Saudi Arabia announced a new plan to try to wean its economy off its dependence on oil exports - a plan said to be the brainchild of Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, the 31-year old son of King Salman who is looking increasingly like the power behind the throne. This Update looks at the future of the Saudi kingdom both in terms of the apparent decline of the long-standing relations with the US, and economic changes in the region.

Ben-Gurion goes to Beijing

Ben-Gurion goes to Beijing Author: Amotz Asa-El Categories: China, Israel    

Surveying the post-war international system in 1952, Israel's founder David Ben-Gurion wrote that European hegemony was on the decline, and that it stood to be replaced eventually by Asia.

As would happen with many of his varied insights, this one, too, proved prophetic.

The Mind of a Terrorist

The Mind of a Terrorist Author: Matthew Levitt Categories: Europe, Islamic Extremism, Terrorism    

Allow me to paint a picture: The office of the Mayor of the Molenbeek municipality in Brussels sits alongside a picturesque, typically European cobblestone square. Across the square, within plain view of the municipal government, sits the family home of Salah Abdeslam, the Islamic State terrorist who was finally captured on March 18th after evading authorities since the November Paris attacks. Nothing separates the two buildings, but they are a world apart.

Editorial: The Isolation Myth Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Africa, Anti-Zionism, China, Europe, Israel, Middle East    

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigners and their supporters like to claim that Israel is becoming increasingly isolated internationally. Israel's supporters also sometimes express concern that the relentless campaign of misinformation and false blame may be having a detrimental effect on Israel's international standing.

Yet, as is so often the case with Israel, the reality is somewhat different to the perception.

Concerns rise over Iranian missiles

Concerns rise over Iranian missiles Categories: Iran, Updates    

Since the completion of the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, last July, an ongoing concern has been the continuation of the Iranian ballistic missile program, with provocative missile tests by Iran last October and in March. For instance, last week, US Secretary of State John Kerry visited the region to attempt to mollify Arab state criticism from Arab states of US handling of the Iran nuclear deal, including issues regarding missiles.

This Update features some analyses of the concerns about the missiles and suggestions about what more can be done.

Is the latest Palestinian terror wave ending?

Is the latest Palestinian terror wave ending? Categories: Israel, Palestinians, Terrorism, Updates    

Israel's Shin Bet internal security service reported to Israel's cabinet on Sunday that there had been a sharp fall in the number of major terror attacks over the past month. This has prompted speculation that the wave of near daily Palestinian terror attacks, often by lone wolves armed with knives or other simple weapons, that has been occurring since last October may be coming to an end. This Update looks at the evidence for this view, and some explanations for the decline now being offered.

Israeli Democracy under threat?/ Abbas under fire for talking to Israelis

Israeli Democracy under threat?/ Abbas under fire for talking to Israelis Categories: Israel, Palestinians, Updates    

This Update features an important essay discussing the oft-heard claim - originating primarily from the political extreme left in Israel, but often echoed by commentators abroad - that Israel's democratic institutions are being eroded rapidly by various measures put in place by right-of-centre governments of recent years. It also addresses the recent controversy in Israel over a soldier charged with manslaughter after shooting dead an apparently disarmed terrorist in Hebron, and the significance of the reaction to Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas' interview on Israeli television last week.

Print edition

Noted and Quoted - April 2016 Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia    

SBS reporter Rena Sarumpaet's report on a series of multiple Palestinian terror attacks carried out on March 8 stated that "this latest flare up is a reminder of how paralysed peace talks are, critics citing a United States distracted by more immediate concerns such as Syria and IS."

This is relativist nonsense that attempts to hold Israel, the US and the Palestinians as equally responsible for both the violence and the lack of peace talks. The Palestinian Authority's (PA) Foreign Minister recently said the PA would "never" again directly negotiate with Israel, rejecting Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu's repeated invitations to enter unconditional peace talks.

Biblio File: A Matter of Definition

Biblio File: A Matter of Definition Author: Robert Fine Categories: Antisemitism    

The word "antisemitism" currently has a strange aura around it. There is a curious reluctance on the part of some people to use it even on occasions when it seems unequivocally appropriate - like, for example, the murder of Jewish children and a Jewish teacher in a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012, committed avowedly "to avenge Palestinian children." The word itself sometimes seems to have an almost uncanny quality - a "killer word" as some cynics have put it, like a nuclear bomb that must never actually be used!

AIR New Zealand: Moving Pictures to Open Doors

AIR New Zealand: Moving Pictures to Open Doors Author: Miriam Bell Categories: Australasia, Israel    

Building bridges with art and culture is a time-honoured tradition. It could be a partnership between musicians from countries in conflict, or a fine art exhibition aiming to break down the gap between different parts of the world. Whatever the form, the arts can serve to create empathy, understanding and identification in situations where it might not otherwise exist.